Something Has Gone Wrong At Work. Now What?
So you’re having one of those days. You grab the milk from your fridge and you find out that you’ve poured chicken stock into your coffee instead. Your car overheats before you even get out of your driveway. Your dog throws up again and your drains have overflowed because there’s a thunderstorm soaking your house. You just want to go back to bed but you still have to get to work.
Before you can even say “What else can–”, you get a call that the presentation you’ve been working on for weeks is no longer about Gen X investment advice, but is now about Gen Z TikTok videos instead.
Now’s not the time to pack it in, nor is it the time to run out screaming in a panic. This day can still be yours.
What do you do? You try again.
Follow these steps:
Take a breath. A deep one. Actually, take a minute for a few measured breaths. In, hold for five seconds, slowly out. Do that five times. It’s gonna help.
Reassess. There’s been a glitch in the Matrix somewhere. Find out where the problem is.
Yell. Yup, go find somewhere that’s away from lots of ears and let it rip. Get it out of your system.
Activate yourself. Take hold of the reins and claim your accountability.
Get yourself an action plan. List out the things that you need to do to get your ship righted. Unless something’s on fire (don’t bother listing “grab a fire extinguisher”, “find the nearest fire exit”, or “stop, drop, and roll”), taking a couple of minutes to plan out your strategy can help realign what you’re doing and keep you from repeating mistakes.
Adjust what you need to set things on course again. Do more research, start a new spreadsheet, start again from scratch if you need to.
Involve others. Look, we’ve all had those things happen. Calling in reinforcements — or old favors — could be the ticket to a swift and more painless reboot.
Nail the landing. You’ve come too far to falter again in the last stage. Go over everything one more time, check those “i’s” and “t’s”, and know that you just saved the day.
Being successful isn’t about being perfect. Success comes from perseverance, course correction, and confidence that you can get things done despite problems that come up.
So whatever happens to screw up your meticulously planned day — and that will happen, probably at the worst moments — taking control and trying again will get you back on track.
Just make sure that you’ve poured yourself a new cup of coffee first. That first one’s a goner.
Don Seaman spends his professional life trying to put the alphabet into the right order to construct coherent thoughts that people can read. Now he does that for Surprise. You can find out more about this failed musician and retired superhero on LinkedIn and Twitter.